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Brasyl

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  2,276 Ratings  ·  220 Reviews
Think Bladerunner in the tropics...

Be seduced, amazed, and shocked by one of the world's greatest and strangest nations. Past, present, and future Brazil, with all its color, passion, and shifting realities, come together in a novel that is part SF, part history, part mystery, and entirely enthralling.

Three separate stories follow three main characters:

--Edson is a self-ma
...more
Hardcover, 355 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Pyr (first published January 1st 2007)
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Ready Player One by Ernest ClineThe Martian by Andy WeirOld Man's War by John ScalziThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsAnathem by Neal Stephenson
Best Science Fiction of the 21st Century
125th out of 512 books — 5,663 voters
Shadow Over Avalon by C.N. LesleyPerdido Street Station by China MiévilleThe City & the City by China MiévilleAltered Carbon by Richard K. MorganThe Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
Best 21st Century SF
27th out of 123 books — 100 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Knjigoholičarka
Hej, hej, malo je falilo da zacvrkućem kako je knjiga sjajna, odlična, legla mi je k'o budali šamar, baš u pravom trenutku!

Ali poslednja dva poglavlja (od ukupno osam) su me smorila do plača. Šteta, odavno nisam zveknula pet zvezdica nekom štivu.
Kemper
Dec 21, 2009 Kemper rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
The summary on the jacket for this book says, “Think Blade Runner in the tropics.” That’s wrong. It’s not Blade Runner, it’s more like if you took Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, Baroque Cycle trilogy and Anathem, the basic plot from Apocalypse Now and some concepts from a crappy Jet Li movie called The One and put them in a blender and mixed them up to come with a unique story, you’d start to have an idea of what this book is like.

There are three parallel stories told in different time frames in
...more
Ivan Lutz
Sep 09, 2016 Ivan Lutz rated it it was ok
Roman je intelektualno bravurozan, istražiteljski fenomenalan, pa čak i dikcijski superioran naspram velike većine romana danas. McDonalda izrazito poštujem, ali čini mi se da se moram opravdavati ako mu opizdim dvojku jer ju je po meni zaslužio. Unatoč fenomenalnom pristupu u sve tri priče(meni je najbolji dio sa svećenikom koji je po svemu prosta kopija Apokalipse Danas), roman je zbijen i zbrčkan te težak za čitanje. Kroz dosta konfuznu radnju kao da nas je namjerno vodio konfuzno, te digresi ...more
Chloe
As constant (some may say obsessive) readers, we have all come to know our individual tastes rather well. We know what books will hit our literary G spots and which will leave us feeling cold and dirty, like the regretful afterglow of a one night stand. We learn to savor those reads that are a “sure thing,” that guaranty a night of debauched pleasure. This is how it was when I first heard of the publishing of Ian McDonald’s Brasyl. There is no doubt that I am a scifi junkie. Few books scratch my ...more
tim
Sep 21, 2010 tim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: aspiring reality police
Edit. Everything is edit, cutting down those endless tapes of footage to meaning… Take a sample here, another there, put them together, smooth over the joins with a little cutaway. A new reality.

A simple enough recipe for achieving life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Throw into the mixture a handful of spices: quantum computers, quantum knives, quantum tattoos. Sprinkle in some Gaian Goddesses and robotic surveillance angels; add a dash of Cosmic Christ. But don’t let anyone know that t
...more
Tijana
Jan 31, 2015 Tijana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vrhunski SF. Velika pohvala što je uspeo da tri (uglavnom) odvojene linije zapleta vodi tako da nijedna ne preuzme prvenstvo niti deluje zanemareno. Sjajni likovi, jezički savršeno (bonus za odličan odličan prevod Gorana Skrobonje), divna demonstracija činjenice da tvrdi SF može da funkcioniše i u okruženju osamnaestog ili ranog dvaesprvog veka. Jedina zamerka je malo previše otvoreno-otvoreni kraj, ali dobro, to su lične preference zbog kojih mu ne bih skinula zvezdicu.
Jason Pettus
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com:]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.)

Regular readers know that I ended up lucking into a cool situation this month; I just happened to be able to get my hands on half of the ten books nominated this year for either the Philip K Dick Award (recognizing the best experimental science-fiction novel of the year) or the Hugo Award (acknowledg
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Rachel (Kalanadi)
Jun 26, 2016 Rachel (Kalanadi) rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction

While waiting for Ian McDonald's Luna: Wolf Moon to come out later this year, I decided to dive into his back catalog with Brasyl. I sure thought Luna: New Moon was flavored with Brazilian culture (the main family are Brazilian immigrants to the Moon), but Brasyl is, well, all about it!

Three people in three times are sucked into the dangerous world of quantum computing and parallel universe conspiracies: reality TV producer Marcelina in 2006, flamboyant go-go-go! entrepreneur Edson in the 2030's

...more
Jason Wyatt
Jun 18, 2007 Jason Wyatt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans
Extremely difficult intro, largely due to the language barrier (and my own stupidity). The author uses large numbers of Brazilian words that would take whole phrases to describe in English since they don't have direct translations, so I ended up figuring out most of them purely through context. The reason I'm stupid is because there was a brief dictionary in the back of the book that I failed to notice until I finished it.

Besides that, you definitely still need to give this book some time to dra
...more
Sandi
Jan 21, 2008 Sandi rated it it was amazing
Ian McDonald is one of my favorite authors. He probably has more imagination than any other author out there. He creates futures that are totally bizarre and makes them completely believable. In my opinion, "Brasyl" is one of his best novels. It's been nominated for the Hugo award and deserves to win.

"Brasyl" explores the concept of multiple universes in a whole new way. The end was a total surprise. I will definitely be re-reading this book.
Oscar
Con sus tres arcos argumentales, Ian McDonald lleva a cabo en ‘Brasyl’ malabarismos con tres pelotas, pero antes de llegar al final del camino, y por ende del espectáculo, McDonald no puede evitar que alguna de dichas pelotas se le caiga al suelo, por lo que recibe un aplauso de circunstancias, y no el esperado aplauso unánime. No es bueno lo que hacen muchos editores, eso de comparar el libro presente con otros libros que se han convertido en verdaderos clásicos. En este caso, se habla en la po ...more
Ian James
Jan 23, 2011 Ian James rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
This book leant heavily on Brazilian culture and vocabulary in an attempt to make it more interesting. The science was not at all convincing to me: the description of being able to see into parallel worlds was not at all believable, and it made no sense that the poison from a frog conferred the ability to do so in humans, just because that frog's retina is supposedly capable of detecting a single quantum of light (and is thus able to see into the quantum world). Also, just because you can see bi ...more
Olethros
Oct 04, 2014 Olethros rated it liked it
-Localizaciones exóticas, Ciencia-Ficción más común pero entretenida.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. A comienzos del siglo XXI, Marcelina Hoffman es una ambiciosa productora de televisión residente en Río de Janeiro y que siempre está pensando en nuevos programas para aumentar la audiencia. En 2032, Edson Jesus Oliveira de Freitas es un buscavidas de Sao Paulo que debe buscar la ayuda de expertos en cuántica del lumpen local tras robar un bolso protegido por dicha tecnología. Luis Qu
...more
Profundus Librum
Sep 19, 2014 Profundus Librum rated it really liked it
McDonald még mindig inkább költő, mint író. A prózája gyönyörű, virtuóz, túlzás nélkül szépirodalmi. Ezeket a színpompás leírásokat viszont meglehetősen nehéz befogadni. A szépségnek ára van. A történet másodlagossá válik az elkápráztatás mellett, ami pedig az izgalomra sincs pozitív hatással. A Brasyl még A dervisház megfontolt mozgalmasságához sem ér fel, pedig már abban sem pörögtek az események igazán.
A szerző A dervisház írásakor olyan könyvet szeretett volna, ami „törökösebb”, mint ha egy
...more
Alain Dewitt
May 26, 2015 Alain Dewitt rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015
There are hints of a very interesting and potentially entertaining world (make that worlds) in this book. Unfortunately, McDonald gets bogged down in creating the world(s) and never gets around to showing us much more than these tantalizing hints.

This book is really three different storylines that deal with the 'many worlds' universe. The three stories all take place at different times in Brasil, from the 1730s of colonial Brazil to the contemporary Brazil of 2006 to the future Brazil of 2033.

Th
...more
James
Apr 14, 2009 James rated it liked it
A sci-fi book told from three different characters' perspectives, one in modern day Brazil, one thirty years in the future, and one from the 1700's. The back cover hook told me they were all connected somehow. This was enough to get me interested, combined with the fact that I lived in Brazil for two years. Good thing I did.

I don't know how this book would be comprehensible to someone who hasn't lived in Brazil. No, not comprehensible, it's just that the author throws so much brazilian verbiage
...more
Robert
Feb 21, 2012 Robert rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ian McDonald is a marvellously skilled writer. He writes prose like a musician, and, like a musician with an interest in finding different sounds, he plays with new and exciting instruments from faraway lands... Well, he certainly immerses his novels in local lingo and speech rhythms. Hats off and massive kudos to that.

His novels - the two I have read - are set in relatively near futures, in unconventional settings: Brazil, or Turkey, or other nations that are neither USA / Europe (nor Japan or
...more
Ralph
Apr 15, 2010 Ralph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Adam
Mar 09, 2009 Adam rated it really liked it
Brazyl is a three part narrative drawn together through locale and quantum physics. The title is a good clue as none of them are actually Brazil and vary in interesting ways. They are a contemporary media satire worth of anyone of the post-Delillo generation that becomes a tale of a sinister doppelganger, a near future Gibson style cyber punk, and my favorite an alternative history of colonial Brazil that evokes Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Pynchon’s Mason Dixon, and Llosa’s War at the End of the ...more
Pablo Flores
Jun 22, 2016 Pablo Flores rated it it was amazing
Is the term "epic" overused? Maybe, but I cannot say any less about Brasyl. The book starts out at a nice pace and picks up speed along three parallel scenarios (Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and the northeast of Brazil, transitioning into the Amazon) and three timeframes; though common themes are suggested, it is not until well into the book that these threads begin to converge. The finale in the jungle of trees echoes the greater finale among the many worlds of the multiverse. Local colour is cons ...more
Nicholas Whyte
http://nhw.livejournal.com/1021688.html[return][return]Ian McDonald's latest. The setting of Brazil fits his lush, dense writing style so well that it is remarkable that he's never set a novel in real South America before (his two books set on Mars portray a rather Patagonian version of the planet, but it's not quite the same). We have three interleaving narratives, from the mid-18th century, the present day, and the near future (2030); we have peculiar variations of reality; and we have the jun ...more
Hank
Apr 18, 2016 Hank rated it liked it
The tale of three books under one title. I enjoyed the first hundred pages or so. The Brazilian words/slang took a bit getting used to but the world was familiar yet advanced which always makes me happy in sci-fi. I was curious about where the tech was going and how the story was going to tie in two different time-lines.

Then the next 150 confusing, scattered, seemingly random pages happened. It might be that I am too dumb to keep up but the story was too convoluted and fragmented for me to kee
...more
Bob Rust
Jun 24, 2016 Bob Rust rated it it was amazing
Brasyl (2007) intricately exploring the Brazil of the heart-of-darkness past the present and the Quantum-Computer-transformed future though plot concerns are perhaps here foregrounded too heavily.
Julia
Jul 11, 2013 Julia rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Not my cup of caipirinha. I found the Portuguese language was poorly blended into the English narrative, and made for choppy, frustrating reading. There were stunning ideas about Quantum physics, and beautiful passages on faith and clairvoyant sight in the darkest jungle. But the pacing and three story lines seemed to make characters trip over their shoe laces, again and again. I couldn't run with the plot, I couldn't lay by the river and enjoy the beckoning river sound, all was the noise of the ...more
prcardi
Storyline: 2/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 4/5

My conclusion upon reading River of Gods was that Ian McDonald was a remarkably talented world-builder and author who picked an unfortunate (for my tastes) writing style and science fiction subgenre. I read Brasyl wondering if he was versatile.

He's not. At least, he doesn't showcase versatility here. Like River of Gods this is a cyberpunk, near future, Third World, multiple-character, intertwining plotline, pushing-the-envelope romp throu
...more
S.E. Sasaki
Feb 12, 2016 S.E. Sasaki rated it it was amazing
Ian McDonald did it again in this amazing SF book that combines three different times in Brasil: 1732, 2006, and 2032. You are introduced to the stories of three very different characters in three very different times. McDonald swiftly and skillfully enwraps you within their chaotic lives and you are taken on a rapid adventure in the past and the future where you not only see what is happening, but you smell, taste, and feel the grit of the setting. You feel as if you have become Brazilian. McDo ...more
Fred P
Sep 12, 2014 Fred P rated it really liked it
Brasyl is fast-paced, beginning with a motorcycle chase, and ending with an epic battle that transcends time and space. Ian McDonald did his research for this one. You feel like you are a part of the Brazilian culture, with Portuguese slang and complex cultural references. You will experience Brazilian candomble ceremonies, and a history lesson in the Spanish conquest of the Amazon. From the favela to the multiverse, our heroes are pursued by a mysterious organization known as "the Order."

Parall
...more
Ben
Jun 12, 2008 Ben rated it liked it
Somewhat disappointing. Ian McDonald certainly has a distinctive style. It worked for me in River of Gods...but in Brasyl I was mostly annoyed. Maybe reading this right after River of Gods was not a good thing to do since they are so similar in style and both heavily involve quantum mechanics. I was a little sick of the parallel universe/multiverse stuff. However, it did end strong so I would recommend it...but it did not live up to the hype.
Isis
Jun 03, 2016 Isis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
This is one of those books that makes me feel as though I'm just not smart enough to appreciate it completely. The language is rich and vivid and a roller-coaster of English and Portuguese slang, the alternating stories layer onto each other very slowly such that the point of each section is unclear until much later. The characters are completely alien to me - a cut-throat reality TV producer and capoeira enthusiast, a bisexual slumboy on the make, a Japanese-Brazilian physicist from a parallel ...more
Szeee
Nov 22, 2014 Szeee rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Bajban vagyok ezzel a könyvvel, mert bár nagyon jól van megírva, de mégsem aléltam el tőle úgy, mint a Dervisháztól.
Egyszerűen nem éreztem magam jól azokban a világokban, amelyeket ábrázolt, még a 2006-ban játszódó történet sem tudott közel kerülni hozzám. Mind3 sztori Brazíliában játszódik, különböző korokban (1732, 2006 és 2033). Talán túl európai vagyok én ehhez a világhoz. Valljuk be, Dél-Amerika egy gyökeresen más kultúra, életmód. McDonald remekül ábrázolja az ország színes forgatagát, a v
...more
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Ian Neil McDonald was born in 1960 in Manchester, England, to an Irish mother and a Scottish father. He moved with his family to Northern Ireland in 1965. He used to live in a house built in the back garden of C. S. Lewis’s childhood home but has since moved to central Belfast, where he now lives, exploring interests like cats, contemplative religion, bonsai, bicycles, and comic-book collecting. H ...more
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“Fake it may be, lies and deceptions, but this is the world in which we find ourselves, and here we must make our little lives.” 14 likes
“Marcelina loved that miniscule, precise moment when the needle entered her face. It was silver; it was pure. It was the violence that healed, the violation that brought perfection. There was no pain, never any pain, only a sense of the most delicate of penetrations, like a mosquito exquisitely sipping blood, a precision piece of human technology slipping between the gross tissues and cells of her flesh. She could see the needle out of the corner of her eye; in the foreshortened reality of the ultra-close-up it was like the stem of a steel flower. The latex-gloved hand that held the syringe was as vast as the creating hand of God: Marcelina had watched it swim across her field of vision, seeking its spot, so close, so thrillingly, dangerously close to her naked eyeball. And then the gentle stab. Always she closed her eyes as the fingers applied pressure to the plunger. She wanted to feel the poison entering her flesh, imagine it whipping the bloated, slack, lazy cells into panic, the washes of immune response chemicals as they realized they were under toxic attack; the blessed inflammation, the swelling of the wrinkled, lined skin into smoothness, tightness, beauty, youth.

Marcelina Hoffman was well on her way to becoming a Botox junkie.

Such a simple treat; the beauty salon was on the same block as Canal Quatro. Marcelina had pioneered the lunch-hour face lift to such an extent that Lisandra had appropriated it as the premise for an entire series. Whore. But the joy began in the lobby with Luesa the receptionist in her high-collared white dress saying “Good afternoon, Senhora Hoffman,” and the smell of the beautiful chemicals and the scented candles, the lightness and smell of the beautiful chemicals and the scented candles, the lightness and brightness of the frosted glass panels and the bare wood floor and the cream-on-white cotton wall hangings, the New Age music that she scorned anywhere else (Tropicalismo hippy-shit) but here told her, “you’re wonderful, you’re special, you’re robed in light, the universe loves you, all you have to do is reach out your hand and take anything you desire.”

Eyes closed, lying flat on the reclining chair, she felt her work-weary crow’s-feet smoothed away, the young, energizing tautness of her skin. Two years before she had been to New York on the Real Sex in the City production and had been struck by how the ianqui women styled themselves out of personal empowerment and not, as a carioca would have done, because it was her duty before a scrutinizing, judgmental city. An alien creed: thousand-dollar shoes but no pedicure. But she had brought back one mantra among her shopping bags, an enlightenment she had stolen from a Jennifer Aniston cosmetics ad. She whispered it to herself now, in the warm, jasmine-and vetiver-scented sanctuary as the botulin toxins diffused through her skin.

Because I’m worth it.”
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